The Pallavanjali Institute for Actualization of Individual Potential Journey
by Krishna Das
Pallavanjali Institute for Actualization of Individual Potential (PIAIP) is a career training program for students who are 18+. We started in 2006 when we realized that students with special needs did not have any alternatives to college education. Many students are not reader-writers or may not have the cognitive ability to make decisions or sustain a job without interventions. We started with 7 students with special needs in 2006.
At PIAIP our aim has been to provide a non-judgmental and caring environment for students to express their opinions and concerns. We help students develop an understanding that responsibility and accountability goes hand in hand with independence. Once they are aware of “who I am” it becomes easy for them to deal with life and shape up as confident young adults.
We started a one-year program with twenty regular young men and women from under privileged backgrounds. They were all above 18 years of age. The 10 boys were from our residential hostel, Second Chance school run by Ritinjali, and the 10 girls were from the various communities around Mahipalpur. They were all young and keen to learn. This has been a transformational program with the aim of reintegrating disadvantaged young learners between 18 and 22 years into work and social life in a nurturing, safe and stimulating environment. The first year was a great success. There were a few drop-outs among the girls due to social conditioning and family pressure. Ever since we have been working with the Ritinjali boys and this has been one of the most fulfilling experience for all those who are involved with the program.
In this one year, students go through a rigorous work and life readiness curriculum which includes, grooming and communication, multimedia and tech literacy, spoken English, mentorship, debates and discussions on contemporary issues, field trips and educational visits, visual and performing arts to evoke healing besides learning a vocational skill and industry-based internships that will make them employable.
Our endeavour from the beginning has been to introduce our students to the best working environment for their internships. Thus, exposure visits became an important part of the program. This helps our students to gain knowledge of different kind of areas to pursue. Thus, Life Skills has been one of the key areas of our training. The Social, Emotional, Ethical and Cognitive skills run parallel in every area of learning. The training also includes night stays and out-bound adventure camps in different parts of India.
The in-house café at Pallavanjali helps in developing and honing their cooking skills. Students are encouraged to plan healthy menus, budget, do shopping and cook a meal of their choice. For the Special-needs students sometimes it is a source of employment. At Pallavanjali students from the PIAIP program have jobs in-house, in the Café, as an assistant teacher and one in the Sports department. The success rate of employment for the Level 3 boys so far has been 100%.
• To nurture young minds in an environment that is non-judgmental and unbiased
• To help students identify their individual potential through enhancing their self esteem
• To develop awareness that responsibility and accountability goes hand in hand with independence
• To provide tools that help students to constantly enquire explore and discover themselves
• To make our students work- ready, and always follow the rules of work ethics
• To help students strengthen their professional skills and interpersonal relationship in professional setting
• Increase confidence by experiencing the industry first- hand with opportunities of planning, implementing and evaluating of assigned task
• Provide learning opportunities outside the classroom. These openings provide opportunities to apply class-room theories to “real world” situations
• Helps in enhancing the student’s career goals
• Provide practical work experience
• Strengthens resumes by giving student’s visible work experience
Some of our Internship partner in Hospitality are: Oberoi, Trident, Westin Sohna, Hyatt, Leela Palace, Health: Max Hospital, Vivo Health Care. Others include: Max Life Insurance, Patine Exports, Satya Paul designing house ‘In for the Cause’, Soap Works and many other established names.
The journey so far of our experiences of working for the last 12-13 years without any benchmark has been rather remarkable. At every step we had to ideate, innovate, develop curriculum that suited our students the best and this whole process has been extremely fulfilling. The program focuses on experiential learning. Also what they learn is always related to their daily life.
Our Journey (2006 – 2020)
PIAIP Level 1 and Level 2 students
Café internship students
Career training program level 3 students
Krishna Das is Head – Career Training Programme at Pallavanjali